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Metrobius (Ancient Greek: Μητρόβιος; lived 1st century BC) was a Roman tragic actor of Greek birth, widely known in his time. He was considered the most revered female impersonator in ancient Rome.[1] He is known for having been the lover of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, the famed general and dictator, and is mentioned twice by Plutarch, who clearly disapproves of him "and he never lost his love for an actor called Metrobius"[2] and later "And Metrobius, (who specialized in camp transvestite roles) Although Metrobius was past the age of youthful bloom, Sulla remained to the end of his life in love with him, and made no secret of that fact."

In fiction[edit]

In the historical fiction novels Masters of Rome, written by Colleen McCullough, a character of the same name gave up the stage to accompany the former dictator Sulla into retirement in the year 79 BC. Sulla acknowledged Metrobius as his lover in his final speech to the Roman Senate. After Sulla's death, Metrobius disappears from the sources.[3]


  1. ^ Arms of Nemesis, Steven Saylor, Macmillan, 2008, pg. 69.
  2. ^ Plutarch: Sulla.
  3. ^ Plutarch:Sulla 3.3.


  • Plutarch, Oxford World Classics Ed. "Sulla" pp 177 and pp 213